The Sovereignty and Goodness of God

The Sovereignty and Goodness of God Imagery

Lancaster Attack

"Some in our house were fighting for their lives, others wallowing in their blood, the House on fire over our heads, and the bloody Heathen ready to knock us on the head, if we stirred out." (69)

Rowlandson describes the Narragansets' attack on Lancaster with vivid imagery and violent diction. By describing the English as "wallowing in their blood," Rowlandson invokes visceral sympathy from the reader. Her imagery of the fire over their heads, the threatening Native Americans outside, and those suffering or fighting within demonstrates the ubiquity and inescapability of the attack.

Setting Up Camp

"When I came to the brow of the hill, that looked toward the Swamp, I thought we had been come to a great Indian Town [...] the Indians were as thick as trees: it seemed as if there had been a thousand Hatchets going at once: if one looked before one, there was nothing but Indians, and behind one, nothing but Indians, and so on either hand, I my self in the midst, and no Christian soul near me." (80)

As in her description of the Native Americans' attack on Lancaster, Rowlandson's extensively describes her company's setting up camp in order to give a sense of inescapability and ubiquity, which Rowlandson herself feels as a captive among the Native Americans and as an English colonist in the middle of the forest. 

Native Americans in English Apparel

"My heart skipt within me, thinking they had been English men at the first sight of them, for they were dressed in English Apparel, with Hats, white Neckcloths, and Sashes about their waists, and Ribbonds upon their soldiers: but when they came near, there was a vast difference between the lovely faces of Christians, and the foul looks of these Heathens, which much damped my spirit again." (94)

Rowlandson does not often offer details about physical appearance, which alone makes this passage noteworthy. Her enumeration of all of the ways in which the Native Americans appeared like the English demonstrates that the contrast between their perceived and actual identities is the root of Mrs. Rowlandson's disappointment. Perhaps it is this disappointment that makes her evaluation of their appearance especially harsh.

Pre-War Ritual

"There was [a Praying Indian] that kneeled upon a Deer-skin, with the company round him in a ring who kneeled ,and striking upon the ground with their hands, and with sticks, and muttering or humming with their mouths [...] and so they ended their business, and forthwith went to the Sudbury-fight." (100)

This quote is an abbreviation of Rowlandson's lengthy description of a pre-war ritual led by a "Praying Indian." While she proposes her description as appalling evidence against Christian Native Americans, the sheer length and detail of her description belies an interest in the ritual on her part.